Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

garden

I am lost.

WINTERSONG is magical, with a fairy tale atmosphere that is heightened by the lovely, lyrical writing. Though there are echoes of Labyrinth (my favorite childhood movie!), the author took it beyond that to create a story and characters that are unforgettable and that will live in you long after you have finished reading the book. I can say definitely that WINTERSONG is a book that will go on my keeper shelf and that I will reread over and over until I have wrung the last bit of magic from it.

Told from the first person of view, Liesl or Elisabeth makes an engaging, self-aware narrator, and from her narration, we see how she grows from girl to woman, not just in terms of physical, but also in her emotional and mental maturity, in the self-actualization that she attains at the end. Her realization that she is “Elisabeth, entire”. The author takes us on this strange, wondrous, compelling journey, and while more astute readers may guess there’s only one outcome to this story, yet the journey to that end is filled with growth and realizations that both characters (Elisabeth and the Goblin King) would not have attained without these experiences.

The Goblin King (swoon swoon swoon) has so much potential, and it’s too bad we can only see him through Elisabeth’s eyes. And what we eventually come to know about his past is heartbreaking. The romance is dark and mysterious and sexy, and it is to the author’s credit that she got me so invested in the characters that the poignant, bittersweet ending (not a spoiler) affected me a lot. (And I want more!)

Right now, I’m wishing for a sequel, though I’m not sure if a sequel would do this story justice. Maybe it’s better to leave this as it is. But if ever–if ever–there’s a sequel, you can bet I’ll be first one to get it. Highly recommended!

Rating: 5 stars

The Romance Review

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Summary:

Dark, romantic and unforgettable, this riveting debut for fans of Labyrinth and Naomi Novik tells the fantastical story of a young woman’s journey towards love and acceptance

Deep in his terrifying realm underground, the cold and forbidding Goblin King casts a dark shadow over nineteen-year-old Liesl. Her grandmother had always warned her to follow the old laws, for every year on the longest night of winter the Goblin King will emerge into the waking world in search of his eternal bride. Sensible and plain, Liesl knows it’s her duty to keep her beautiful sister safe from harm, but she wishes only to indulge in her wild, captivating music, composed and played in secret in the Goblin King’s honor.

When her beautiful sister Käthe is stolen by the Goblin King, Liesl knows she must set aside her childish fantasies to journey to the Underground and save her. Drawn despite herself to the strange, beautiful world she finds–and the mysterious man who rules it–she finds herself facing an impossible choice. With time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Set at the turn of the 19th century, when young upstart composers like Beethoven were forever altering the sound of music, S. Jae-Jones’ richly imagined debut spins a spellbinding tale of music, love, sisterhood, and a young woman’s search for self-actualization.

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